Our Common Good

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted (R) became the public face of vote suppression this year for his overreaching election directives, which restricted early voting hours and forbid election officials from counting legitimate votes. Though President Obama won the state, Husted has not halted his efforts. With two House races heading to a recount, Husted is now facing accusations that he isillegally tossing provisional ballots. These House races will determine whether state Republicans get a super-majority to put constitutional amendments on the ballot without a single Democratic vote.

State representatives Kathleen Clyde (D-OH) and Debbie Phillips (D-OH) threatened to sue Wednesday evening over at least 384 ballots that have been discarded in the two districts in question, Tuscarawaw and Cuyahoga. According to the state reps, some ballots were put in plain manila envelopes instead of provisional ballot envelopes, rendering them invalid. Additionally, they say Husted is rejecting ballots covered under the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, which allows voters who have moved to a different address within the same congressional district to vote at their former precinct.

Even more ballots are likely to have been wrongly discarded because officials are using a database already proven to be flawed and incomplete to determine the voter’s registration status.

Besides these possible breaches of federal election law, Husted is also tossing innumerable ballots that were thrown into question by poll worker error through no fault of the voter. A federal judge tried to stop him, declaring “I don’t want to see democracy die in the darkness on my watch.” But the conservative Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a stay that allowed Husted to throw out these votes.

Ohio leads the country in provisional ballots, with 200,000 cast this year. In 2008, the state discarded 1 out of every 5 provisional votes. These ballots are often concentrated in urban, Democratic areas — and huge percentages get discarded every election.

When Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) proposed repealing a decades-old state law that allows citizens to register on Election Day, he said his motivation was to make the process easier for the state’s municipal election clerks.

To Walker’s surprise, one of the first major groups to push back on his proposal is the Wisconsin Municipal Clerks Association.

In fact, the organization’s election communications chairwoman Diane Hermann-Brown said, eliminating Election Day Registration would actually make their jobs significantly more difficult.

[…]

Hermann-Brown pointed to a number of new election regulations that the state would be forced to adopt if it repealed Election Day Registration. For instance, clerks would be required to use provisional ballots, which can turn into a bureaucratic nightmare for election officials. State agencies, like the BMV, would be required to help register voters as well.

justinspoliticalcorner:

Two weeks after Barack Obama and Sen.-elect Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) carried the state of Wisconsin with the support of minorities and young voters, Gov. Scott Walker (R) announced one of his major policy proposals for the upcoming session: ending the state’s 40-year old law that allows citizens to register to vote on Election Day.

And with Republicans now back in control of the Wisconsin state legislature, Walker may well get his way next year.

In 2008, Wisconsin enjoyed the second highest turnout of any state in the nation (72.4 percent of eligible voters cast a ballot), due largely to the fact the Badger State law allows residents who aren’t registered or have recently moved to register at the polls. That year, approximately 460,000 people used Election Day Registration, 15 percent of all Wisconsinites who cast a ballot.

Walker pressed his case for ending same-day registration during a speech at the Ronald Reagan Library in California on Friday:

“States across the country that have same-day registration have real problems because the vast majority of their states have poll workers who are wonderful volunteers, who work 13 hour days and who in most cases are retirees,” Walker said. “It’s difficult for them to handle the volume of people who come at the last minute. It’d be much better if registration was done in advance of election day. It’d be easier for our clerks to handle that. All that needs to be done.

Wisconsin was the first state to enact Election Day Registration in 1971, followed soon by states like Minnesota and Maine. Today, eleven states have laws allowing citizens to register at the polls. These states enjoy the highest turnout in the nation not by chance, but because Election Day Registration boosts turnout by 7 to 14 percentage points. In addition, studies show that minorities, poorer voters, and students benefit the most from being permitted to register on Election Day.

This gutless punk thug, aka Scott “Fartknocker” Walker, needs to be voted out of office in 2014!

h/t: Scott Keyes at Think Progress Justice

After contacting more than 350 voters sampled at random, a California newspaper says it found 30 people in a single county whose party affiliation was switched to Republican without their consent.

Reporters with The Press-Enterpriseexplained on Sunday that they began interviewing voters after noting a huge surge of Republican voter registrations, including about 4,800 people who’d changed their affiliation to Republican.

“But voter interviews suggest that the per-registration bounty program, bankrolled by wealthy activists and large business interests, encouraged some signature gatherers to cut corners,” they wrote.

Voters told the paper they they never consented to being registered Republican, and some of them claimed they didn’t even know they were registering to vote. Some claimed their information was taken after they were asked to sign a petition, while others said they believed the forms were to sign up for doing poll work on Election Day. One person even said that they were promised a job in exchange for personal information, only to have a Republican voter registration arrive in the mail weeks later.

The story seems to confirm claims by California Democrats in Riverside County, who say that a Republican voter registration operation is wrongly adding voters to the Republican rolls to build the appearance of an advantage. That group, The Golden State Voter Participation Project, was targeted last month by the Riverside County Progressive Political Action Committee, which filed an official complaint with the county’s registrar of voters.

That complaint contained affidavits from 133 more Democratic voters who say their affiliation was flipped — including two top aides to retired Air Force Major General Jeff Miller, a Democrat running for the California state senate. Many of those voters shared stories similar to what was relayed to The Press-Enterprise, according to the Center for Investigative Reporting’s California Watch. Voters claim they were offered free cigarettes, or even a job, in exchange for signing some quick paperwork.

Discussing this with an acquaintance last night, he asked why it mattered since the voter can still vote Democrat once in the polling booth.  He thought it might actually help with the narrative that more Republicans were voting Democratic.

The narrative part might be true, but it only works after the election and only  if the people actually vote.  Before then, a different narrative is out that Republican registrations are up and that Democrats are switching to the Republican Party.  That one helps the Republicans when it counts - before the vote.

Maybe more importantly, the parties put a good deal of effort into contacting registered voters  -  urging them to vote, asking them to help GOTV and offering things like rides to the polls if needed.  Democrats won’t be contacting Democrats accidentally or purposefully registered as Republicans.  So it is a big deal.

ourtimeorg:

Please RE-BLOG this image and remind 5 friends that you can still register to vote in 19 states! Register to vote and get more info at www.ourtime.org/vote
In case of color-blindness…
10/26/2012: Alabama
10/27/2012: Iowa *,  New Hampshire *
10/31/2012: Vermont
Deadline has passed, however it is still possible to register to vote (see map image for more detail):
Connecticut 
D.C. *
Idaho *
Illinois
Maine *
Minnesota *
Montana *
Nebraska
New York
North Carolina
Rhode Island
Washington
Wisconsin *
Wyoming *
*States marked with an asterisk allow non-registered voters to register to vote at the polls on election day 

ourtimeorg:

Please RE-BLOG this image and remind 5 friends that you can still register to vote in 19 states! Register to vote and get more info at www.ourtime.org/vote

In case of color-blindness…

10/26/2012: Alabama

10/27/2012: Iowa *,  New Hampshire *

10/31/2012: Vermont

Deadline has passed, however it is still possible to register to vote (see map image for more detail):

Connecticut 

D.C. *

Idaho *

Illinois

Maine *

Minnesota *

Montana *

Nebraska

New York

North Carolina

Rhode Island

Washington

Wisconsin *

Wyoming *

*States marked with an asterisk allow non-registered voters to register to vote at the polls on election day 

Republican consultant Nathan Sproul, whose firm, Strategic Allied Consulting, was fired by the Republican National Committee over reports that his company submitted questionable voter registration documents in Florida, also has ties to the Romney campaign.
The Arizona-based Sproul worked for the Republican nominee, with his firm Lincoln Strategies taking nearly $80,000 from the Romney campaign this year.
On Thursday, former Sproul employee and VA Republican Party field director Colin Small was arrested in Virginia on charges that he disposed of filled-out voter registration forms.
(via Embattled GOP Consultant Had Close Ties To Romney Campaign)

Republican consultant Nathan Sproul, whose firm, Strategic Allied Consulting, was fired by the Republican National Committee over reports that his company submitted questionable voter registration documents in Florida, also has ties to the Romney campaign.

The Arizona-based Sproul worked for the Republican nominee, with his firm Lincoln Strategies taking nearly $80,000 from the Romney campaign this year.

On Thursday, former Sproul employee and VA Republican Party field director Colin Small was arrested in Virginia on charges that he disposed of filled-out voter registration forms.

(via Embattled GOP Consultant Had Close Ties To Romney Campaign)

Colin Small worked for Strategic until they were fired by the party last month- but after being “fired”, he and his team were immediately rehired under a vendor paid for and supervised by the Republican Party of Virginia, which is why he was running this operation from the GOP Victory Office in Harrisonburg.

A Pennsylvania man employed by a company working for the Republican Party of Virginia was arrested by investigators from the Rockingham County Sheriff’s office on Thursday and charged with destroying voter registration forms.

Colin Small, a 31-year-old resident of Phoenixville, Pa., worked for Pinpoint, a company hired to register voters on behalf of the Republican Party of Virginia. Prosecutors charged him with four counts of destruction of voter registration applications, eight counts of failing to disclose voter registration applications and one count of obstruction of justice.

Rockingham County Sheriff Bryan Hutcheson’s office said there was no indication that the activity was widespread in their jurisdiction and said the conduct “appears to be limited in nature.” His office said there is a possibility that additional charges may be filed.

Hutcheson’s office began investigating after the manager at a Tuesday Morning store in Harrisonburg, Va., allegedly spotted a man on Monday afternoon throwing eight voter registration forms into a dumpster behind the shopping center where he works.

Sheriff’s press release here.

Yesterday in Salon.com, Craig Unger, author of Boss Rove: Inside Karl Rove’s Secret Kingdom of Power (a new book which tracks quite a bit of Rove’s 2004 election chicanery, including the mysterious death of Ohio’s GOP election tech guru Mike Connell, etc) wrote about Rove’s ties “to shady GOP operative Nathan Sproul.”

Sproul is the paid Mitt Romney political consultant at the center of the GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, who, though the RNC claimed they had fired him after fraudulent registration forms were recently discovered in some 12 Florida counties, is still at work on behalf of Republicans in 30 different states, according to the LA Times. The long history of voter registration fraud allegations against his companies since 2004 are so toxic that Sproul says the RNC asked him to create the shell company, Strategic Allied Consulting, this past June without his name on the corporate filings in order to hide his involvement. (RNC spokesman Sean Spicer claims he’s unaware of such a request, though Sproul tells us he stands by the assertion.)

Unger points to the letter [PDF] we posted late last week from Rep. Charles Gonzalez (D-TX), ranking member of the U.S. House Elections subcommittee, sent to Rove, with a series of questions about his involvement with Sproul, including the purposes of some $750,000 that Rove’s American Crossroads Super PAC paid to Sproul, as well as questions about Rove’s dealings with Sproul and his companies “during the 2000 and 2004 Presidential campaigns.”

While the congressman requests a response from Rove by October 23, “so that every American who is eligible to vote may go to the polls on November 06 confident that neither you nor any of your political organizations is engaged in an effort to undermine the integrity of our electoral process,” if “Bush’s Brain” stays true to form, he’ll simply ignore the Congressional inquiry entirely.

In this case, once again, he may have very good reason to, as Rove’s relationship to Sproul and the Strategic Allied Consulting firm now appear to be even closer than Rep. Gonzalez had suggested in his letter last week.

It now appears that Strategic Allied Consulting has the same corporate mailing address in Virginia as Rove’s American Crossroads PAC. Imagine that…

"I just saw a guy throw a bag of trash in my cardboard dumpster and speed off. I went to get the bag and throw it in the trash dumpster. In the bag was a folder containing FILLED OUT VIRGINIA VOTER REGISTRATION FORMS!! I called the Harrisonburg Registrars office and they sent the police who said they really didn’t know what to do in a case like this because its never happened before. The police took the forms and left. I’m really concerned because today is the last day in Virginia to register to vote and if these forms are tied up while trying to figure out what to do, will these people be allowed to vote??? I’m tagging you Lowell since I thought you might want to follow up on this. I spoke with Debbie at the Harrisonburg office and police spoke with Doug at the Rockingham county registrars office”


Who would drive up to a dumpster on the registration deadline day to throw away completed voter registration forms and why?
 
The car that drove up was a black Toyota Camry with Pennsylvania license plates.  Who would be in the Valley from Pennsylvania and have a bunch of completed voter registration forms that they wanted to destroy?

Once this story hit Facebook, a number of people pointed out to the person who witnessed this crime that the state GOP “Victory Office" was just a couple blocks away. Yesterday afternoon, guess what car was parked in front of the office?

Yep, a black Toyota Camry from Pennsylvania.

Police are investigating and the local media has begun reporting on this story.  The Sheriff (a Republican) has said the person who destroyed the forms was a different person than who collected them.  NBC29 also reports that the Sheriff will decide if this is a criminal case today.  

Luckily only 8 registration forms were involved in this case - and the registrations will be honored, but if this occurred once, it may well have happened before.  

politicsplus:

GOP Election Fraud Still Going Strong!
I trust you remember the Republican election fraud scandal in Florida and several other swing states, and how the Republican Party had Nathan Sproul create a whole new company to hide his involvement, given his past record for criminal activity on behalf of Republicans.  They said that they have fired Sproul and cut off contact with him.  Would you be surprised to learn that they lied?… (video)

politicsplus:

GOP Election Fraud Still Going Strong!

I trust you remember the Republican election fraud scandal in Florida and several other swing states, and how the Republican Party had Nathan Sproul create a whole new company to hide his involvement, given his past record for criminal activity on behalf of Republicans.  They said that they have fired Sproul and cut off contact with him.  Would you be surprised to learn that they lied?… (video)

When the RNC then publicly claimed to have "fired" Sproul’s new company, after the fraudulent forms came to light, it’s likely that the RNC also knew full well that many of their state GOP affiliate organizations were still quietly employing Sproul’s firms for partisan work in a number of other states.

[…]

Perhaps even more disturbing is the evidence suggesting that his companies are still operating in states around the country under different names. That, despite the RNC’s claims to have “severed our relationship” with Sproul, and the assertion that they “acted swiftly and boldly” to cut ties with the group only after the allegedly fraudulent registration forms came to light in Florida (and as Democratic registration forms were also alleged to have been destroyed by Strategic workers in other states, such as Colorado and Nevada.)

[…]

Shortly after the GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal first broke late last month, $430,000 in payments from the California Republican Party made to “Grassroots Outreach, LLC”, a firm which shared the same corporate Tempe, AZ address as Sproul’s companies Sproul & Associates and Lincoln Strategy Groups.

Most of the payments in this election cycle, according to the database, are said to be for “Signature Gathering” (presumably for ballot initiatives, etc.), though $34,000 of those payments are noted to be for “Voter Registration”.

Sproul confirmed to The BRAD BLOG that Grassroots Outreach is, indeed, one of his companies, though he insists the CA database is in error, because, he says, his companies have done no voter registration in the state this year.

[…]

Now, Flynn has uncovered new evidence of another company calling itself “Issue Advocacy Partners”. He documents help wanted ads, some posted as recently as September 26th, mirroring those published previously by Strategic Allied Consulting.

"Similar ads were being posted in other states, namely Wisconsin, Iowa, Virginia, New York and New Jersey, for almost identical jobs with another entity, Issue Advocacy Partners," writes Flynn. "Some of the listings are connected directly to Sproul’s Lincoln Strategy Group. Others use Sproul’s Tempe, AZ, business address for contact information." [Update: Since original publication this morning, Flynn writes in to note that Issue Advocacy Partners has also now “popped up” in Alabama, Georgia and Louisiana as well. “Also,” he adds, “two former supervisors of Sproul’s NC operation have moved to OH, one now hiring ‘Voter Outreach Representatives’”.]

"Some of the ads specifically mention voter registration," Flynn details, while others use "terms like ‘seeking to hire grassroots canvassers to identify conservative voters’, ‘voter recruiter’, ‘conservative voter identification’, ‘voter ID’, ‘identify conservative voters’."

One of the ads Flynn found, posted on 9/27 and since removed, reads: “Issue Advocacy Partners is a conservative organization working to register voters as well as remind voters to vote conservatively in the upcoming election.”

[…]

From the evidence detailed above, it’s clear that, despite the RNC’s claim to have cut ties with Sproul, and his own originally unqualified assertion that he and his companies were not “still work[ing] for the RNC or other state or local parties,” there is a great deal of evidence that his operations are still working on behalf of Republicans in California and Oregon under the name Grassroots Outreach, and in Wisconsin, Iowa, Virginia, New York and New Jersey under the name Issue Advocacy Partners.

[…]

Last week, three ranking members of high profile U.S. House committees sent a letter to RNC Chair Reince Priebus, seeking more information about the RNC’s work with Sproul. It was signed by Democratic Reps. Charles Gonzalez, Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Elections; John Conyers, Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee; and Elijah Cummings, Ranking Member of the Committee on Oversight & Government Reform.

The letter, which cites reports on this matter by The BRAD BLOG in a number of its footnotes, details the Republican Party’s “unfortunate history of voter suppression” and its “Years of illicit and unethical behavior” which “led to the 1982 consent decree under which the RNC agreed to ‘refrain from undertaking any ballot security activities’ or anything else that might ‘deter qualified voters from voting’.”

"Despite your party’s requests over the past thirty years, federal courts have repeatedly declined to lift that decree," the letter to Priebus continues. "The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit on December 13, 2010, pointed to violations as recent as 2004 and found no evidence of ‘any significant change that renders prospective application of the Decree inequitable.’"

Last day to register to vote in New York: October 12th, 2012

odinsblog:

  • Last day to register in Florida: October 9th, 2012 
  • Last day to register in Ohio: October 9th, 2012 
  • Last day to register in Michigan: October 9th, 2012 
  • Last day to register in Pennsylvania: October 9th, 2012 
  • Last day to register in Colorado: October 9th, 2012 
  • Last day to register in North Carolina: October 12th, 2012 
  • Last day to register in Virginia: October 15th, 2012 
  • Last day to register in Nevada: October 16th, 2012 
  • Last day to register in Iowa: October 27th, 2012 
  • Last day to register in Wisconsin: November 6th, 2012

GottaRegister.com